Scientists marvel at Scotland's Stonehenge

"Standing Stones of Stenness" is a circle in Orkney, composed of stones and four of the stones are still there today. It is not known what the purpose of the…

“Standing Stones of Stenness” is a circle in Orkney, composed of stones and four of the stones are still there today. It is not known what the purpose of the stones was.

About 5,000 years ago, people in the Orkneys rowed with many huge stones, each weighing a ton, hewed them and erected them on a ridge. However, the reason why this was done is still a mystery.

The “Standing Stones of Stenness”, as the stone circle is called, originally consisted of up to twelve stones surrounded by a fort. However, excavations from the 1970s show that two of the stones have probably never been placed in place. Today only four of the stones stand. They are almost six meters high and only 30 cm thick.

The diameter of the stone circle is 32 meters and the circle opens towards the north. Contrary to what is known, including Stonehenge, the stones at Stenness do not seem to be related to the direction of the sun and moon in relation to the summer and winter solstices.

Stone rings were in fashion

In the British Isles you can find up to one thousand stone circles. Most of them were built around 3000 BC. but at that time there is nothing more like that such monuments were in vogue all over northwestern Europe.

Near Stenness is the “Ring of Brodgar” (see photo), where the stones are smaller but the ring is larger.

It is not known what the original purpose of the stones was. Some scholars believe that sacrifices were made at the site, possibly in connection with religious ceremonies or funerals.

In support of this, it can be noted that the remains of a wide road lead up to the stone circle. It is also known that the place was used for religious ceremonies as late as the late 19th century.

At that time, the so-called Óðinsteinn was part of the ring. A large hole had been drilled into the stone, and all newlyweds had to hold hands through the hole to ensure a happy marriage. A childless couple could also ensure offspring by spending a night at the stone.

In 1814, the headman Mackay bought the place and soon became annoyed by the frequent visits of people to the stones. He considered the custom to be pagan and considered the encroachment damaging the soil. He broke the Odin stone for a trick and let one of the others fall over in order to scare people.

This act led to a huge protest, both from the locals and the authorities, which resulted in Mackay apologizing and having the stone re-erected.

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